County supports new business growth in Devon.

Over £1.7 million is to be given to county projects and schemes over the next two years to help encourage economic development in Devon.

Over £1.7 million is to be given to county projects and schemes over the next two years to help encourage economic development in Devon.

Known as the Local Authority Business Growth Incentive, LAGBI is designed to help local authorities promote local business growth.

The money comes from the business rates paid by companies and organisations in Devon which goes to central government and is then re-distributed to local authorities through the LAGBI scheme. Since 2005, £1 billion has been handed out in England and Wales, with Devon receiving around £4.5 million.

Soome £250,000 is earmarked for Skills and Worklessness Projects. For example, the last LAGBI allocation allowed a hotel in Ilfracombe to convert its kitchen into a training area to enable students to gain catering qualifications. Another scheme helped to re-train graduates in the Torridge area and secure work placements. Funds will continue to support initiatives such as these and towards the Devon Worklessness Forum, which encourages the unemployed into training opportunities.

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The Devon Rural Network is to receive £50,000. This is an organisation which brings together rural communities in Devon and enables them to speak with one voice on a national platform. The money will be used to employ two members of staff and to continue production of a newsletter.

Some £100,000 will go towards South West Forest, a rural regeneration project based on woodlands and wood products, which includes the creation of community woodlands across northern Devon.

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Another £70,000 is the allocation for Renewable Energy for Devon, an initiative to encourage alternative forms of energy

The work of Team Devon is being given £100,000 to foster the Olympic talent and spirit of Devon and to respond to the opportunities presented by the 2012 Olympics.

Some £60,000 is allocated to Food and Drink projects to improve productivity in Devon and to encourage people to support local food producers and farmers markets.

A significant investment is proposed to help disadvantaged communities. The council is contributing £230,000 towards a £1.7 million total budget for 2008-2011 to help various projects in North Devon.

Also, £180,000 is also proposed to go towards the ICT strategy. This picks up where Broadband4Devon left off and will help ensure the county has full access to broadband networks

A full list can be seen by going to

Councillor Humphrey Temperley, the County Council's Executive Member for Strategic Planning, Regional and International Affairs, said: "While slightly less than previous years, we are very pleased to be able to 'recycle' some of the money paid by local businesses back into the Devon economy. Many of these schemes will help with our skills base, re-training and supporting adult skills which will prove to be important in this time of economic uncertainty.

"Another key issue for us in the present financial climate is the impact on people who are on low incomes and may have difficulties meeting payments, such as utility bills, therefore we need to ensure that the take up of benefits are fully realised

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